In the late 19th century, shortly after the patent of the telephone, the race was on to connect everyone to the phone grid. However, due to technical limitations of the earliest phone lines, every telephone required its own physical line strung between a house or business to a phone exchange where the call was manually connected by a live operator. The somewhat quixotic result of so many individual lines was the construction of elaborate and unsightly towers that carried hundreds to thousands of phone lines through the air.
In Stockholm, Sweden, the central telephone exchange was the Telefontornet, a giant tower designed around 1890 that connected some 5,000 lines which sprawled in every direction across the city. Just by looking at historical photos it’s easy to recognize the absurdity and danger of the whole endeavor, especially during the winter months. Everything that could possibly go wrong did. From high winds to ice storms and fires, the network was extremely vulnerable to the elements. Luckily, phone networks evolved so rapidly that by 1913 the Telefontornet was completely decommissioned in favor of much simpler technology. The remaining shell stood as a landmark until it too caught fire in 1953 and was torn down.
Madrid-based 3D artist Lee Griggs created some fascinating topographical illustrations using 3D animation and rendering software Maya Xgen and Arnold. Each piece is comprised of countless spheres, cylinders, or cubes that have been extruded and colored to create images reminiscent of ocean floors, bacterial growth, or even weather patterns. Griggs talks a bit more about how he renders these and shares a number of tutorials over on his blog. (via Colossal Submissions)
Product designer Marcel Dunger conceived of this fascinating and elegent way of creating small rings, pendants, and earrings by “repairing” broken pieces of maple wood with colored bio-resins. The resin is first poured onto a larger piece of broken wood and after the hardening process the piece is then machined into pieces of jewelry.
Architect and environmentalist Peter Bahouth designed and built this beautiful trio of treehouses linked by bridges in an Atlanta forest, which also happens to be his backyard. Inspired by the treehouses and adventures of his youth, the idea was to create a sort of fort for grown-ups. The three houses dubbed “Mind,” “Body,” and “Spirit,” include a living room and bedroom with a special bed that slides out for an improved view of the forest below. The photos here were taken for Jane Field-Lewis’ book My Cool Shed, provided courtesy photographer Lindsay Appel. (via iGNANT, CJ Who)
A few days ago, UK industrial designer and jeweler Mat Brown shared with the Reddit community his ingenious idea for a set of resin inlaid chestnut shelves. Starting with a cracked piece of chestnut wood he mixed standard resin with some mysterious glow-in-the-dark powder he bought on Ebay which he used to fill in the gaps. And voilà, instant glowing furniture with unknown side effects. Seriously though, they look amazing, and you can see his fully detailed tutorial over on his blog. Brown also makes lots of funky jewelry which he sells over on Etsy.
Illustrator and designer Akihiro Mizuuchi designed a modular system for creating edible chocolate LEGO bricks. Chocolate is first poured into precisely designed moulds that after cooling can be popped out and used as regular LEGOs. It’s hard to determine exactly how functional they are, it seems like he had success in building a number of different things, though I can only imagine how quickly they might melt in your hands, but I suppose that’s beside the point; this is two of the greatest things in the world fused together. If you google around there are numerous attempts at creating various forms of LEGO in chocolate or other food, but this appears to be the most detailed and well-designed of anything out there. (via Legosaurus)
Residents of a neighborhood in Baltimore now have the most obvious place to wait for a bus ever designed. The ingenious stop is comprised of three 14′ typographic sculptures that literally spell out the word “BUS” while functioning as benches and a novel leisure space. The bus stop was unveiled last month by artist collective mmmm…, a creative collaboration between Emilio Alarcón, Alberto Alarcón, Ciro Márquez, and Eva Salmerón, who have been designing public spaces in Madrid since 1998. This is their second project in the United States. Via the collective’s website:
BUS is made with wood and steel, materials that are typically used to build urban furniture. The three letters of BUS are big enough to accommodate two to four people each and protect them from rain, sun, wind, and inclement weather. They allow people to assume different postures of sitting or standing while waiting for the bus. The S allows people to lie back while they wait, and the B provides shelter.